When procuring recruitment content that speaks to your veteran talent pool, it’s important to properly represent the military in all aspects. The following guidelines will help you present your content in a respectful way that will resonate with your audience.
In general, images should not contain:
- Saluting. This is a sacred action and symbol of respect for the flag, superior officers and deceased service members.
- Facial hair or unkempt grooming.
- Uniform collars standing up.
Take a look at the tabs below for more considerations when using images in your veteran recruitment advertising.
Do your best to not flood your communications with uniformed military. Remember, when veterans and reservists enter the civilian workforce, they dress in civilian attire. But if you do choose images of service members in uniform, be wary of stock photos that don’t depict an accurate representation according to current military regulations. This applies to the following:
- Hair style
- Physical build
- Name tapes (the piece of fabric with the service member’s last name on it) are always on the front right of a uniform; the name of the service branch is on the front left. Easy way to remember is that the service branch is closest to the heart.
- Flag is only on the right shoulder.
- Flag star field (i.e. field of blue) is to the right and not the left. The field is closest to the front of the service member.
- All uniform badges or other items personal to the military uniform should not appear in images. Airbrush, if needed.
- Check headgear (“cover”) to ensure accuracy. The types of authorized headgear changes frequently. For instance, a black beret on an Army soldier is outdated. The cover worn by Marines looks different from the cover worn by Army, but they look similar.
The following resources can help:
- U.S. flag is okay to utilize if it’s a part of the background image due to the nature of where the photograph/image was adapted.
- A folded U.S. flag is representative of a funeral and should only be considered for Memorial Day-related imagery.
- Hair is tied up in a bun or a braid affixed to the head (twists or locks); hair is never down or in a ponytail.
- Hair that is worn down cannot be longer than the lower edge of the collar on the back of the neck.
- In all service branches enlisted females can wear small silver ball earrings; officers wear small gold ball earrings. Any other type of earring is not authorized.
- Fingernails shall not exceed 1/4 inch measured from the fingertip. They shall be kept clean. Nail polish may be worn, but colors shall be conservative and complement the skin tone.
- “Soldier” refers to someone in the army only. It is not a term that covers all branches of the military.
- “Troops” is an all-inclusive term.
- The individual members who comprise the branches are referred to with distinct terms:
- Army – soldiers
- Marines – Marines (always capitalized)
- Navy – sailors
- Air Force – airmen
- Space Force – guardians
- Coast Guard – coast guardsmen